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40 cheap things that will make your life easier in the van

If you live or spend time traveling in a camper van you will have realized that you have to adapt many things and do without some others to be as comfortable as possible. That’s why we leave you a list with some cheap items that can make your time in a camper van much more pleasant. Shall we start?

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1. Fiamma Drip Stop gutter for camper vans and motorhomes

During rainy days, don’t you hate to open the door and get wet inside because the water keeps dripping? We solved it with one of these Fiamma Drip Stops. We put them over doors and windows and the problem is over. They are made of flexible polyvinyl and include a heavy-duty self-adhesive strip to make installation a breeze.

2. Silicone tupperware and collapsible containers

Tuppers by themselves are great for helping to better organize leftovers, especially in the fridge. If they also offer the ability to fold up and take up less space in our small kitchens? what more could you ask for? 👍

3. Silicone folding buckets and baskets 👍

A bucket or basket, although it takes up a lot of space when not in use, can be very useful on many occasions: for cleaning, folding clean laundry at the laundromat 🧺, washing dishes at a campsite, bathing a baby or a pet 🛁, fetching water from a fountain 🚰 etc., etc. With a collapsible container you won’t have the problem of space, just fold or fold it when you don’t use it and store it in any corner.

4. Silicone collapsible strainer

We are definitely fans of collapsible containers! So in our kitchen we could not miss a colander or colander also foldable …. they take up very little space and fulfill their function perfectly!

5. Reducer for gas stoves

If you use a gas stove and stove, it is possible that from time to time you need to heat an object that, due to its small base, is unstable on the stove. It used to happen to us every time we went to make coffee…. 🤦🏻♀️ Until we bought one of these stove reducer bases. The coffee pot is no longer “dancing” and the risk of it falling over and putting all to waste has been minimized…. A real success 👍

6. Aluminum folding windshields

If you usually cook outside, a folding windshield is probably indispensable, but even if you cook inside it can be useful. It will help you reduce splatter stains, heat transfer to the wall…. It’s very inexpensive and, being collapsible, it takes up very little space, so there’s little risk in trying it out.

7. Foldable gas camping toaster

If you like toast 🍞 you might be compensated for one of these stove top toasters. They’re small, cheap and the toast will be delicious…. There are different models so you can choose the one that best suits your tastes.

8. Dish drainer mats or mats

In our lifestyle, a large kitchen with a large worktop and a dishwasher is mission impossible. Even having a sink with a drainer is very complicated 😅 That’s why our solution has been to put a dish drainer with a folding mat. We take it out to wash and once everything is dry, we collect it and put it away…. It’s simple, but fantastic!

9. Collapsible water bags BPA free!

For us, this type of bag was a realdiscovery! When they are empty , they don’t take up any space and they are amazingly useful… We have several of them, in different sizes for different uses. For example, as we are lucky enough to have enough storage space, if we plan to be in a place where there is no easy access to drinking water, we fill a few bags before, to extend a little the autonomy that gives us our tank. We also have another pack of these bags that we use if we can’t find a place to empty the grey water: we empty a little of the tank in these bags and we can hold it longer… what else would you use them for?

Before buying them take into account the use you will give them: if you want them to carry drinking water make sure they are BPA free, if they are for emptying gray water it doesn’t matter so much.

10. Thermos or cups for hot drinks

It’s great to always have a hot drink on hand ☕ especially during the winter…. We’re coffee and hot chocolate lovers, so we tend to get quite a bit of use out of thermoses and thermal mugs. When we go hiking on a cold day we never miss a thermos with hot chocolate in our backpack. And a couple of thermos mugs with coffee always accompany us on long driving routes… So, if you also like hot drinks, a good thermos should not be missing in your van.

11. Melamine or BPA-free plastic tableware 🍽️

In my opinion, due to the constant rattling of a moving vehicle, the less glass or ceramic objects you carry in the van the better, you will avoid noises and breakages during accidental falls. That’s why we decided to carry plates and cups made of BPA-free melamine and bamboo fiber. They are beautiful, light and very practical…

12. Refillable bottles and jars

A refillable and reusable bottles or jars made of silicone or other durable material is very useful to have on hand hygiene products like shampoo or gel without having the need to have the big containers in between. Surely, like us 😁, you find many different uses for them.

13. Porta Potties

Porta potties can get you out of more than one predicament. We particularly find a lot of use in these two big groups: the female potties and the potties with lids.

For men it goes unnoticed how lucky they are to be able to urinate standing up? it’s a marvel! For example, being on a walk, not being able to hold back the urge to urinate and not having to pull down your pants to pee squat is just that, wonderful…. They are also useful to use in public restrooms without having to juggle to avoid touching anything… If you’re a woman and you haven’t tried them yet you’re taking too long…. 🤣 You won’t regret it!

Those of the second group, the urinals with lid, are very useful if you don’t have a toilet in the van… Especially if you travel with children, you won’t have the need to stop to go to the bathroom every few minutes 👍

14. Solar shower bag

If you don’t have a shower in the van, a solar shower can be very useful, especially in summer. You’ll be able to, wash up and cool off quickly with one of these inexpensive bags. Remember to use them in places where it is allowed.

15. Rechargeable fan

No matter how well insulated you have your van, it is still a vehicle made of metal, so it is likely that the hot days 🥵 will be a bit of a struggle… To make them more bearable, find a shady place to park and get a good portable fan. It won’t solve the problem, but it will lessen it considerably 👍

16. Vacuum or compression bags

These types of bags are great for helping you save a lot of storage space. If, like us, you live in your van, you’ll probably appreciate having a few of these bags to store your winter clothes and comforter without taking up so much space. Plus, you’ll keep them free of dust and odors.

17. Seat organizers

Space in a van is very limited, so anything that helps you make the most of every nook and cranny and keep the place as tidy as possible should be a must-have. So keep these seat organizers in mind, they might come in handy for storing small things that you use very often.

18. Trunk organizer

These compartmentalized suitcases or boxes will help you keep your van’s “garage” tidy. They are very practical and, being collapsible, you can fold them up if you don’t need them.

19. Entrance mat

The entrance mat of our van is one of our must-haves… We think it’s very necessary to have a place to wipe (or leave) your shoes on a rainy day. Living in such a small place we try to keep it clean and tidy so we can feel comfortable and cozy.

20. Umbrella

This item needs no explanation… Having a good umbrella is important in most houses, so in a “traveling house” it becomes fundamental…. 🤣

21. Sewing kit

Having a small sewing set that allows you to both sew on a loose button and fix a torn or unstitched is essential, even if it simply contains a pack of needles and black and white thread…. It’s very inexpensive, it takes up little space, but it can get you out of a big jam… don’t forget it!

22. Clothespins and string

It’s possible that you have space to hang wet clothes and you didn’t realize… For example, if your van has a bathroom, you can find a way to hook a hanging clothesline on the roof or you can hang a balcony clothesline on the side of the roof rack or on a window… It’s all about putting imagination into it…. 🤣

23. Toilet brush 🧹

As we have already said, if you live in a small space it is even more necessary to keep it clean and tidy. A small place that is messy and dirty will make it feel even smaller and you will be overwhelmed and uncomfortable. So, don’t forget to add your cleaning kit.

24. Magnetic hooks with neodymium magnets 🧲

If you don’t have a place to hang your jacket and other small items, you might want to buy a pack of magnetic hooks so that you can place them wherever you need them… You will only have to think about the weight you want them to support and where you are going to place them.

Keep in mind that if you place them on the ceiling they are able to support much more weight than if you put them on a wall.

25. Straps, ropes or straps for fastening and securing

This is another of our must-haves. You can be presented with many situations where having a rope or webbing can be of great use to you. So why not go ahead and have some ready for when you need them?

26. Carabiners

Having a few good carabiners in the van can be very useful… We use carabiners for many things: to attach a tarpaulin to the roof rack and make an awning, to grab some safety chains for the doors, to place a folding ladder on the roof rack, etc… Surely you can also give them many uses.

27. Small shovel for camping or snow

A small shovel can be useful, for example, in case a wheel of your van gets stuck in sand, dirt, mud, or snow. The best thing to do in these cases would be to dig a little to “free” the wheel so that it can find a more solid surface to regain traction. It may also be advisable to carry a traction recovery mat (see on Amazon) for these situations.

28. Multi-purpose tools

A small tool of this type can be useful to carry in your backpack. It can help you on a long hike or a day outdoors camping.

29. Basic set of tools 🛠️ and materials

A small set with basic tools can help you solve many of the breakdowns and problems that come up due to use and the normal small accidents of living in the van. Among our tool kit we include:

And you, what do you include among your tools and materials?

30. Flint

Honestly, as we have a gas stove, we are more of a lighter and that’s it, but it is true that if you like camping outdoors and light small fires a flint can come in handy. They are small, inexpensive and very durable.

31. Hose

Water is a very valuable and limited commodity in a van. If, like us, you have a fixed water tank in the van, a hose is almost indispensable. Thanks to it you will be able to refill your tank more easily, as there are many occasions in which the water source does not have a hose or the hose is too short.

32. Hose adapters

And, if you already have the hose, do not forget to buy one or more adapters that allow you to connect the hose to faucets that do not have a quick connector or a universal thread. They are very practical and inexpensive 👍

33. Camping plug adapters

Another type of adapter you might appreciate having is a camping plug adapter. There are available with various combinations depending on your needs:

  • European male plug with CEE female to plug the external socket of the van into a normal socket.
  • European female plug with CEE male to plug a normal power strip to a camping socket.
  • CEE male and female plug to use as an extension cord in a camping site.

We have one of the first ones, to charge the secondary battery of the van in a normal socket at home if we ever need it.

34. LPG Adapters

If you have a LPG installation and you plan to travel abroad, a set of adapters is a must. There are 4 in total: Bayonet, ACME, Dish and unified. Each one will work for a number of different countries. Be cautious and don’t wait until you need them, take them all in a case and forget about compatibility problems.

35. Power extension cord

Whether you don’t have many 220V sockets in the van, or if you like to live outside it, an extension cord with or without power strip will be very useful. Even if you don’t have 220V in the camper, a small extension cord with power strip can be very useful to charge your cell phone, power bank, camera, laptop or whatever you need in a library, a shopping mall, a bus station or wherever. Carry it with you at all times.

36. Charger with external battery

Having a charged power bank can help you in emergency situations where you’ve run out of cell phone battery or simply help your phone hold up to one of those tourist marathons with its multitude of photos…. 😅 We always carry one in our backpack just in case…

37. First aid kit

As we always say, health and safety is the most important thing. Obviously there are situations in which the most prudent thing to do is to go directly to a medical center or a hospital, but there are many other occasions, most of them, in which a good first aid kit can help you save the situation…

38. Water purification tablets 🚰

If you use the water in your tank for cooking, you’d better treat it properly. A multitude of microorganisms and algae breed in stagnant water and are harmful to your health. In addition, when we refill water we do not know the state it is in. This is a serious enough issue to ignore… To avoid unnecessary risks, use appropriate products to keep the water in your tank fresh and suitable for consumption.

39. Sunscreen ☀️

It may seem obvious but we usually do not protect our skin from the sun sufficiently. If we spend a lot of time outdoors, that’s a lot of time our skin is getting the sun’s rays without us even realizing it. Use awnings, umbrellas, hats and sunscreen. Protect yourself and your loved ones.

40. Mosquito repellent

There are many places where the number of mosquitoes in summer is very annoying… Not only the uncomfortable buzzing, but they get into your nose or mouth and on top of that they bite you? don’t think about it! Get some good mosquito nets for your windows and use a repellent that will help you to repel them. You won’t regret it.

thanks so much for sticking it out this far! 🤣 We wanted to make a post that could be useful to many people with different profiles, so we came up with a bit of a long list…. 😅 But if you have among your equipment any economic item that you think can be useful in a camper, don’t hesitate to tell us about it in the comments… We know that van life is a minimalist life, but why say no to something that can make it easier for you?